Date of Award

1-1-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)

Department

Management & Enterprise

First Advisor

Dr. Breda Kenny

Second Advisor

Dr. Aisling Conway Lenihan

Abstract

This thesis identifies and addresses a major gap in Entrepreneurship Education (EE) research. Specifically, it focuses on the entrepreneurial skills and attitudes embedded in employability skills. It tests the widely accepted assertion that employers desire more well-rounded graduates who possess entrepreneurial skills. Pittaway and Cope (2007) highlight an absence of evidence in the literature establishing a link between EE and employability skills.

It is the intersection of EE and graduate employability that provides the context for this study. This study examines the knowledge, skills and attitudes resulting from education and, in particular, from EE and ascertains the extent to which educators, employers and students value employability skills, with a focus on entrepreneurial skills. The core objectives of this study are to establish which employability and in particular, entrepreneurial skills are deemed most desirable for graduates to make them employable, who is responsible and is there agreement amongst stakeholders as to the employability skills most valued in an Irish context. This thesis further contributes a cross-country comparison between the impacts of EE and graduate employability viewpoints between Ireland and Croatia and provides points of similarity as well as differences.

To provide a multi-perspective viewpoint, three sampling frames were chosen. The first sample frame comprised of recruitment professionals in Irish organisations who actively employ graduates. The second sample frame was limited to lecturers with experience in EE modules. The third sampling frame comprised senior-level students who had received some level of EE during their studies within Cork Institute of Technology, a large HEI located in the Republic of Ireland. Survey data in the form of questionnaires were gathered and analysed from each sampling frame. The results indicate that a relationship exists between educators and employers’ viewpoints however; students differed in their attitudes towards employability and entrepreneurial skills to that of educators and employers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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